FDC #21: Revival (with special guest Ben Rients!)

I believe that math education is incredibly important. It is crucial in a variety of jobs, has many practical applications such making high schoolers more able to split a goddamn tab, and is generally useful in building a good logical framework which serves most well in life. Bad math can be disastrous for a number of reasons. Space shuttle crashes, not knowing what time two trains heading in opposite directions will meet, and wasting money on a lottery ticket are all potential consequences of poor math skills. That brings us to Revival.

We had been excited for Revival for a long time. All the way back at FDC #13, we ate at Corner Table, and our server gave us a heads up that their chefs were concocting a legit southern comfort food restaurant down the road. After our friends at CT served us an awesome meal, we were totally on board with Revival before it even opened. To make things even more special, Ben Rients, chef and owner of Lyn 65, agreed to join us for our meal. Unfortunately, this is where we ran into problems.

Now I don’t want to blame Ben for what happened next. In fact, he saved us from it being so much worse. He also told me that Lyn 65 is planning on ordering a version of the Ghostbusters 2 painting with his and his staff’s faces on it, so knowing that fact alone earned Ben a lifetime’s supply of invitations. Here’s where the math comes in, though. During a typical FDC meeting we eat about 7-10 dishes split among the four of us. For example:

  • The Kenwood: three appetizers, four entrees, two desserts.
  • Spoon & Stable: two appetizers, three entrees, one side, two desserts
  • Parlour/Borough: three appetizers, three entrees, two burgers
  • Lyn 65: three appetizers, five entrees, one dessert

You get the idea. Now for what we ordered at Revival: six appetizers, a whole chicken, five entrees, three sandwiches, five sides. This might be a little hard to follow for you non-mathematicians out there, but it turns out that if you divide five by four, two is not in fact the result. As in, when you have a party of four for dinner, you don’t need to order more than twice as much food if you add a fifth. It was, however, pretty funny watching out waitress go bug-eyed and shake her head in disbelief as she scrawled down our order. She was especially disturbed after when we said we wanted “all of the sides”. FDC would also like to personally thank Ben for suggesting that we eliminate any sides from our order that already came with our entrees. It might make sense to see what we didn’t order.

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You don’t win friends with salad.

When the food army came, it was swift and merciless. We kept up with the appetizer round admirably, but could not stand the combined fury of the entree/chicken/sandwich/side round and for the first time in FDC history had…leftovers. Even if we had ordered this many plates at one of the previous FDC spots we would have been in trouble, but the people at Corner Table/Revival do their entrees BIG. All five of us were basically giggling for the entire meal, at the beginning uncontrollably as the absurdity of what we had done dawned on us and later nervously as the absurdity of what we had done became a reality in front of us. Despite the quantity of food, the quality did not suffer one iota (gold star for the kitchen staff). Some of the highlights from the meal:

  • The pickled shrimp and pigs feet was one of the few delicate dishes of the meal. It was a flavor unlike anything I had ever had, and not in an unexpected-spoiled-milk-in-your-morning-bowl-of-cereal type of way, but more in the I-want-to-eat-more-of-this-and-figure-out-what-the-hell-is-making-this-taste-so-good-but-I-have-20-more-things-to-try-so-I-can’t-actually-do-that-right-now-but-maybe-some-other-time type of way. You know what I mean.
  • The fried chicken. Oh boy. There was a lot of pressure on this to be good, because there just aren’t many spots in the Twin Cities that do southern food well, let alone any that do it at all. Of the two varieties, I really dug the Tennessee Hot (the spicy one). We were generally split about which fried chicken was best, but we all agreed it was among the best (for me, THE best) we had ever had. Git some, as they probably say a lot in the South.
  • The pork shoulder was outrageously tender. If the Dos Equis man was a steak, he would be this dish, as it was The Most Interesting Steak in the World in terms of the combination of flavor and texture. This dish in particular earned the Ben Rients Stamp of Approval.
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  • The burger was crazy good. It was a really rich (which is a weird way to describe a burger, but shut up it’s true!), the bacon was nice and thick, and I was sad we had to split it five ways. But then I was happy as our table continued to fill up and Ben and Chris both at some point had to put their plates in their lap to make way for more plates of food.
  • The cole slaw made my body happy. After rejecting any and all salads on the menu (and rejecting basically nothing else), my brain was screaming at me to put more ruffage into the system or suffer the consequences.
  • The two bottles of white wine that the kitchen sent to us on the house were both much appreciated and also very necessary in churning up the extreme mass of hearty food we had just ingested.

I could go through the rest of meal one dish at a time, but instead I’ll leave you with our pictures and have you take my word for the fact that everything at Revival is amazing, and you should eat it all now. And by “now” I mean you should visit them several times instead of insanely thinking you can defy your body’s limits. If you do for some reason feel compelled to recreate what we did, I recommend sitting in a chair when you get home, leaning back in said chair until all the blood rushes to your head, and then temporarily have another part of your body be uncomfortable instead of your stomach. One of these days I will learn not to binge eat at places like this, but until then, I will be seeing the folks at Revival plenty.

Revival – A Photo Progression

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The fanciest pork rinds in the biz

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Fried chicken liver with a sweet potato sauce. Also pea chutes. Revival loves them some pea chutes.

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Johnnycakes filled with ham and cheese (hell yes). And pea sprouts!

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The shrimp and pickled pigs feet toast. And pea sprouts! Also notice how each dish has less and less real estate next to it. 

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Fried green tomatoes. Brad was legitimately excited to share this horrible picture with the world (for the lulz)

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Basically a bacon grilled cheese, with our first generous helping of hush puppies. You can see the table starting to get crowded on the sides. 

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The burger, and more hush puppies that we needed right then and definitely didn’t box up as leftovers later. 

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Some sort of sausage and chicken concoction. And pea sprouts! (thank you, Ben, for telling me what pea sprouts look like so I can call them out every time). Wine and water glasses get shoved more to the side. 

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And

 

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pea

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sprouts! (this last one is that Dos Equis man steak)

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Biscuits, mac n’ cheese, and hush puppies forced to be roomies

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Look at this shit. Ridiculous. 

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We lose control of the situation. Chris can’t even.

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Brad stands on his chair to survey the battlefield; Matt foolishly tries to capture the meal from table level from down below. Keep in mind this excludes the appetizers. No regrets. 

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